An IVC filter is a small, cage-like device that gets surgically inserted around the inferior vena cava, a major vein which carries blood to the heart and lungs. The device is designed to permanently stop blood clots from traveling to the lungs and is usually only inserted after other anticoagulation treatment courses are unsuccessful. Despite the fact that IVC filters have helped some patients live longer, they have caused other patients to suffer from a myriad of serious complications including deep vein thrombosis (DVT), cardiac tamponade, pulmonary embolism, hemorrhage, and even death.
If you or someone you know has had the device inserted or plans on having the surgery done, we have a wealth of important information you should take a look at, but in addition, we have also come up with a list of 5 interesting facts you may not know about the IVC filter:
- The majority of IVC filters are inserted without telling the patient about how to care for the device afterwards.
As odd as it may sound, surgeons will often place an IVC filter inside a patient without telling them that it should later be removed if it’s no longer needed. Patients will often assume that the device should stay in forever only because they were not told differently. Doctors will often say nothing at all regarding the after care of the device, in fact.
- The longer an IVC filter remains in the body, the higher the risk of injury.
If the patient is no longer at risk for developing blood clots, it’s best for the IVC filter to be removed 1-2 months after insertion. The FDA even recommends device retrieval in cases where it’s no longer needed. The most dangerous risks associated with IVC filters usually happen in patients who have had the device for many years. Long term risks can include IVC occlusion, lower limb deep vein thrombosis, and even hemorrhage and/or death.
- A recent study suggests that IVC filters don’t even provide any significant medical benefit.
The medical field advances quickly. IVC filters were once thought to be incredible life savers, but recent findings in a study conducted by Mark R. Hemmila in the October 2015 issue of Annals of Surgery report that “High rates of prophylactic IVC filter placement have no effect on reducing trauma patient mortality and are associated with an increase in DVT events.”
- In 2016, a major, 5-year study began which aims to study the safety and effectiveness of 7 brands of IVC filters.
Most case studies involving IVC filters are performed on filters that are manufactured by companies under heavy legal scrutiny such as those created by C.R. Bard and Cook Medical. In 2016, a new study sponsored by the Society for Vascular Surgery (SVS) and the Society of Interventional Radiology (SIR) went underway which will look at seven major brands of IVC filters and how they affect patients over the course of five years.
The study is called PRESERVE which stands for “Predicting the Safety and Effectiveness of Inferior Vena Cava Filters” and will involve over 2,100 patients and 60 different medical communities.
- At least 27 deaths have occurred due to IVC filters.
According to evidence discussed during a major NBC News report in 2015, at least 27 deaths have directly resulted from complications suffered after IVC filter insertion. The FDA has collected over 900 adverse device reports from the years 2005-2010 alone. As of December 2015, there are over 120 pending lawsuits directed at Cook Medical and C.R. Bard regarding patients and their loved ones who have suffered from damage caused by IVC filters.
The numbers and facts don’t lie. IFV filters, once considered safe, are no longer safe and should be either taken off the market completely or altered until they become safer. Furthermore, the manufacturers should not only be creating safer devices but also properly informing physicians and patients regarding the risks and realities concerning the filters and their recommended retrieval.
If you or someone you love has experienced medical complications due to an IVC filter, it’s not too late to get involved in the pending lawsuits and potentially receive compensation. Contact Louisville personal injury lawyer Tad Thomas of Thomas Law Offices to find out how.